What makes a good retranslation? Especially when the original translation is already a classic, and recognized globally. Is there another retranslation that can do what KJV did?


  • Translation involves the creation of values, linguistic and literary, religious and political, commercial and educational.
  • Value-creating process takes the form of an interpretation inscribed in a source text
  • The Bible, the Homeric epics, Dante’s Divine Comedy, etc.: diverse readerships in the receiving situation will seek to interpret it according to their own values => develop different retranslation strategies that inscribe competing interpretation.
  • A translation housed in social institutions contributes to the identity formation of the agents who function within it.
  • Retranslations are designed to form particular identities and to have particular institutional effects.
  • It can maintain and strengthen the authority of a social institution by reaffirming the institutionalized interpretation of a canonical text.
  • It can challenge that interpretation in an effort to change the institution or found a new one.  (KJV consolidated the authority of the Anglican Church during the early seventeenth century by drawing on Protestant versions of previous English translators).
  • A ST that is positioned in the margin of literary canons in the translating language may be retranslated in a bid to achieve canonicity through the inscription of a different interpretation.
  • Retranslations of marginal texts are likely to be motivated by a cultural political agenda in which an ideology guides the choice of an author or text and development of a retranslation strategy.
  • Translating is an intended action (“reflexive self-monitoring” – Anthony Giddens).
  • Gideon Toury: a translator evaluates their decisions according to “norms” or values in the translating culture.
  • Retranslation can also call attention to the overdetermining role of a commissioning, which may require the translator to work with a particular ST and discursive strategy to enforce a particular ideology.
  • Retranslators of canonical poets (Virgil and catullus, Baudelaire and Montale) justify their projects solely on the basis of the aesthetic values they perceive in the ST.
  • The translator’s agency centers on the construction of various intertextual relations, starting with the production of a text that relates to a ST.
  • Analogical/Metaphoric: for the chain of signifiers that constitutes the ST, the translator substitutes another signifying chain in the translating language on the basis of a semantic similarity that relies upon current definitions for source-language – Lexicographical.
  • Metonymic: a translation might focus on recreating specific parts of the ST which acquire significance and value in relation to literary trends and traditions in the translating culture.
  • A retranslation is sometimes accompanied by a more immediate form of intertextuality, paratexts, which signal its status as a retranslation and make explicit the competing the interpretation that the retranslation has tried to inscribe in the ST.
  • Translations are profoundly linked to their historical moment because they always reflect the cultural formation where they are produced, circulating in institutions….(?)
  • Retranslations are not merely historical in their affiliations with a specific moment, but also historiographical in their effort to signal and rationalize their differences from previous versions by employing various narrative genres, often a mixture of them.
  • May be conservative, premised on a satiric historical narrative.
  • The retranslator criticizes a previous version, but cast doubt on the notion of progress in translation and returns to a discursive strategy or interpretation that was developed in the past, while admiring its inadequacy.